The Divestiture Puzzle

Suppose you own stock in a company that you believe has acted immorally. You want to sell the stock, but is this morally permissible? If owning the stock is wrong, then selling it to another person amounts to abetting an immoral act. The buyer might not feel the stock is tainted, but you do.

Even just renouncing ownership amounts to redistributing the stock’s value among the other stockholders, which increases their moral culpability. Is principled divestiture possible?

(Steven M. Cahn, “A Puzzle Concerning Divestiture,” Analysis 47:3 [1987], 175-176.)